Toronto Islands will stay closed until ‘completely safe,’ Tory says
|Toronto Star 19 May 2017 at 12:28|
Flood-ravaged Toronto Island Park will remain closed for the foreseeable future until water levels subside and the area made “completely safe,” Mayor John Tory said Friday.
“People cannot come here, regrettably, this Victoria (Day) holiday weekend,” Tory said after surveying the sandbag-lined shoreline and trudging through submerged sidewalks in knee-high rubber boots.
The closure means Centreville amusement park, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, also remains closed.
Regular ferry service to Centre Island and Hanlan s Point is suspended until further notice and all permits have been cancelled until June 30.
Forty per cent of Toronto Island Park is under water, including the main beaches, and levels have not been this high since 1974, the mayor said.
More than 300 buildings, including homes, and structures are at risk.
While the rain has stopped for now, Lake Ontario water levels are expected to rise for several more weeks due to winter runoff, winds and waves, he said.
About 45,000 sandbags have been placed on the shoreline around the city, about half on the island.
Tory said the good news is the city’s official fireworks display will take place at Ashbridges Bay at 9:45 p.m. on Monday – weather permitting.
The mayor thanked city staff for their hard work to preventing further flooding on the islands. They have installed industrial pumps to transfer 500,000 litres of water per hour back into the lake.
While nothing has been decided yet, Tory suggested parents who planned to enroll their children in summer camps on the island “might be wise to be at least exploring other possible arrangements.”
Ferry service to Ward’s Island Dock continues on a spring schedule for residents, guests, staff and emergency personnel.